You know things are bad for Republican presidential candidates when John Podhoretz, one of the crown princes of American conservatism, is hammering the candidates for being little more than a bad joke, as he does in the New York Post.
Memo to the Republican field: You’re running for president. Of the United States. Of America. Start acting like it.
Stop proposing nonsense tax plans that won’t work. Stop making ridiculous attention-getting ads that might be minimally acceptable if you were running for county supervisor in Oklahoma. Stop saying you’re going to build a US-Mexico border fence you know perfectly well you’re not going to build.
Give the GOP electorate and the American people some credit. This country is in terrible shape. They know it. You know it. They want solutions. You’re providing comedy.
As I keep telling people, given the economic situation Barack Obama should be unelectable at this point. In any other election year, he would be such a lost cause that the Democrats would be strongly considering finding another candidate. But he’s not, and this is why. The Republican field is appallingly bad. The leader, Romney, is a competent manager who, left to his own devices, probably wouldn’t be a disaster as president. But the forces pushing the field of candidates to the lunatic fringe in the campaign are doing the same thing to the Republican-controlled House and would likely exert the same distorted influence on a Romney administration.
The problem ultimately lies not with the candidates but to the increasingly unhinged voters they are trying to appeal to. The conservative base has simply lost all contact with reality.
One of the other sane conservatives, David Frum, seems to recognize this as well:
The identification of the GOP as mouthpiece for the selfish interests of the wealthy is a stubborn image, difficult to overcome at the best of times. For three years, however, Republican leaders have been doing their utmost to confirm the stereotype – and to quash and quell any attempt to counter that stereotype. Did we really spend months and months arguing that one of the things most wrong with the US tax code is that the poor and unemployed pay too little tax? Yes we did. Head shake. Face slap.
Yes, you did. Your base has also spent the last three years obsessing over Obama’s birth certificate, pretending he’s a secret Muslim and pretending that health care reform is the second coming of Adolf Hitler. The far right fringe is now in control. The paranoid, crazy, John Birch Society/Glenn Beck wing of the party has taken over.